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Several changes come into effect from this month, including rules around shared parental leave, managing sickness absence and new statutory pay rates. Find out more information in this article.

Shared Parental Leave

For parents of children born or matched for adoption on or after 5 April 2015

Under this new system parents will be able to choose how they share the care of their child during the first year after birth. Mothers will still take at least the initial two weeks following the birth, following that they can choose to end the maternity leave and the parents can opt to share the remaining leaves as flexible parental leave. Also under this new shared parental leave, it is proposed to allow the husband, civil partner or partner of the pregnant women the right to unpaid time off to attend up to 2 antenatal appointments. Read more here Shared parental leave and absence


Managing sickness absence – April 2015

A health and work assessment and advisory service are to be introduced, offering fee occupational health assistance for employees, employers and GPs. The service can provide an occupational health assessment after four weeks of sickness absence. Further information is available from GOV.UK – Government response to the review of the sickness absence system in Great Britain.


New statutory pay rates – 5 April 2015

Statutory pay for maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental leave will increase to £139.56 per week.

Statutory sick pay (SSP) rate will increase to £88.45 per week.


Statutory adoption leave and pay 5 April 2015

The statutory adoption leave will no longer have the 26-week qualifying period, and adoption pay will be brought in line with maternity pay, which will be 90% of normal earnings for the first six weeks.


Parental Leave extended to 18 – 5 April 2015

The right to unpaid parental leave will be extended to parents of any child under the age of 18 years. Read more here


Surrogate parents eligible for adoption leave – 5 April 2015

Provided they meet the eligibility criteria parents who have a child through surrogacy will be permitted to take ordinary paternity leave and pay, adoption leave and pay and shared parental leave and pay. Both parents will also be entitled to take unpaid time off to attend two antenatal appointments with the woman carrying the child.


Exemption for Reservists from two year qualifying period for unfair dismissal- To be confirmed

Employees who are reservists will be exempted from the two year qualifying period for bringing an unfair dismissal claim where the reason for dismissal is the employee’s reservist service.


All young people to be in education or training until the age of 18 (England) – 2015


Jury Service upper age limit.

The upper age limit for jury service is increased. The upper age limit for jury service will increase from 70 to 75 (England and Wales)

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Widbury Barns, Widbury Hill, Ware, Hertfordshire, SG12 7QE